LT Philip H. Sauer; posthumous Silver Star

| April 26, 2018 | 16 Comments

KUSI tells the story of Marine LT Philip H. Sauer who was killed in Vietnam 51 years ago.

In 1967, then 25-year-old First Lieutenant Sauer was leading a group of four other marines up a hill to get a better vantage point when he was ambushed by a larger North Vietnamese army unit. He told the other Marines to run as he stayed back and fired at the other unit with only a pistol.

Sauer and three of the other Marines died that day…Between the day Sauer died and today, his story was essentially forgotten until roughly two years ago when Sauer’s brother Tom ran into a man named Lieutenant David Little while surfing in La Jolla Cove.

The two discussed Sauer’s bravery and then began working to have him properly recognized and remembered as the American hero he was.

This week their efforts came to fruition and LT Sauer was awarded the Silver Star and his headstone will be altered to reflect this latest honor.

Category: Marine Corps

Comments (16)

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  1. Wilted Willy says:

    May God Bless you LT! You are truly a hero!

  2. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    The story from KUSI is short on facts, so here are some more. Sauer was leading a small patrol of five Marines on 24 April 1967 when they were ambushed by a far superior force. The point man was immediately killed and the rest dove for cover from the small arms fire and grenade explosions. Sauer ordered his men to get the hell out and fired his .45 as he did. Only one man made it out: PFC Marks. Marks later reported that as he made his way out, he could hear Sauer’s .45 no longer. Decades later, Marks was located and shared the details of that terrible April morning. Accepting the Silver Star at Camp Pendleton on behalf of their brother were Sauer’s four siblings. The ceremony occurred 51 years to the day of Sauer’s gallant action.

  3. Mick says:

    Glad to see this.

  4. Roh-Dog says:

    I have nothing but overwhelming gratitude for Americans such as this.
    Rest Easy, Dear Lieutenant.

  5. USMC Steve says:

    Does anyone know if their bodies were ever recovered?

    • Mick says:

      1stLt Sauer’s body was recovered. Don’t know about the status of the bodies of the other Marines who were KIA with him.

      From the KUSI article linked above:

      “First Lieutenant Sauer is buried at Rosecrans Cemetery and his tombstone will be updated to note the honor.”

  6. OldSoldier54 says:

    A leader of men, you were. A shining example of the Corps, and a demonstration to all, of the price of a salute.

    Well done, EllTee. See you in a while, Brother.

  7. IDC SARC says:

    John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.


  8. butler says:

    Thank you, Lieutenant Sauer.

    P.S. Respectfully, there’s a difference between:
    – 1LT (Army O-2)
    – 1stLt (Marine Corps O-2)
    – 1st Lt (Air Force O-2)
    – LT (Navy 0-3)

    The headline should be amended.

    • Atkron says:

      I think i understand the point you were making, but the equivalent rank in the Navy/Coast Guard would be LTJG.

      • Christopher J Shim says:

        Yup, I understand that.

        Was just pointing out the inaccuracy in the headline: “LT Philip H. Sauer”

        Makes him sound like a Navy O-3 and not the Marine Corps O-2 that he was.

        It’s a small, petty, insignificant point that has nothing to do with the patriotism, fidelity, and valor of Lieutenant Sauer.

  9. Atkron says:

    If SECNAV happens to read this:

    Name a ship after this Hero.

  10. Hondo says:

    Patton’s famous quote is apropos here: “. . . we should thank God that such men lived.”

    Rest in peace, Lieutenant Sauer.

  11. RGR 4-78 says:

    Rest in Peace, Sir.

  12. AW1Ed says:

    Thought Jonn would post this when I first saw it. Well deserved recognition, if a bit late. Rest well, First Lieutenant Sauer.

  13. UpNorth says:

    BZ, LT. Sorry it took so long for the formal recognition.

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